The thoughts of Chris Gurton on motorsport, his photography, his work and his life in general. The thoughts, views and opinion's expressed in this blog are those of Chris Gurton and not necessarily those of any publication that he contributes to.

Posts tagged “Rubens Barrichello

Baying for a Crash.

It’s now become quite obvious that if you are an organiser of a mainstream motorsport championship or event and you want some coverage in the national media, then all you need to do is get someone to have a big crash. If the driver involved in that crash is a popular ex Formula One driver, then all the better. You’re guaranteed a few column inches somewhere in the back pages and even an article on the BBC’s ‘Formula One is the only form of Motorsport’ website.

Sadly, this seems to be the only way the FIA World Endurance Championship can get any coverage in the British Media. Mark Webber’s huge accident in Sao Paulo on Sunday make it on to the BBC website, thanks to the loose Formula One connection, and also into a few national newspapers. I even heard it mentioned in the sport on Absolute Radio’s breakfast show. Those of you who saw it will have winced and be extremely relieved that Mark is OK. It’s a testament to safety in sports car racing that people can walk away from such impacts.

There must be better ways for Porsche to get some publicity of their World Endurance team?

There must be better ways for Porsche to get some publicity of their World Endurance team?

But what really annoys me is that despite the media coverage, I have not seen a single report from these national news outlets that has mentioned the winner of the race. Porsche’s name is all over reports as the car Webber was driving, but no one mentioned that the second Porsche car in the race took victory. Not only that but after a titanic battle with the number 8 Toyota which saw the two cars split by just 0.170 of a second after six hours of racing.

On the subject of the number 8 Toyota, where were these journalists desperate to grab attention with pictures and news of a devastating crash that could have claimed the life of a racing driver, when just two weeks ago, the drivers of said Toyota, the Swiss Sebastien Buemi and British racer Anthony Davidson claimed the World Championship? A British driver winning a World Championship and no one was interested in reporting it.

Image: Chris Gurton Photography

Anthony Davidson: A British sporting World Champion the media aren’t interested in.

Sadly it’s the same for that great motoring institution, Rallying. You don’t get any media coverage of it unless a spectator is sadly injured or killed. As was the case with reports from the Jim Clarke rally, and this tiny piece on the BBC sport website about the Grizedale rally which thanks to really poor reporting suggests an incident far worse than that that actually took place.

I’ve been at touring car races where crowds cheer when someone crashes. I’ve spoken to people who have stated they only like motorsport when there are crashes. How would these people like it if they were involved in an accident on the M25 and witnesses stopped, got out of their cars and started cheering? Is this really the mentality of people these days? Is it what people want? Is that why the media love a good crash story because it gets more attention? I really hope not. We all know the situation with Jules Bianchi so must realise that accidents and crashes are a serious matter.
Surely as motorsport fans we all want to see close and exciting racing. Crashes don’t really add to the excitement. Having been at LeMans when there have been two particularly nasty accidents, the silence of a quarter of a million spectators is chilling. The only cheering was when news that in both cases, the drivers were ok. Sadly that isn’t always the outcome.
We all know motorsport is dangerous. Competition is close and drivers push themselves to the limit and sometimes beyond, so accidents will inevitably happen and thankfully, those baying for crashes are in the small minority of fans. But the mentality of these people needs to change and the media needs to do its bit in helping that and not encouraging it. So please stop with the ‘Crashes make good stories’ attitude. Oh, and BBC, Formula One isn’t the be all and end all of motorsport, there is so much more out there. You can’t even get the rights to show a full season of F1 live so how about investing a bit of money in showing other live motorsport?

 

Rubens: Always happy!

Rubens: Always happy!

I guess the only positive to come from the Mark Webber accident is Rubens Barrichello’s instagram photo. I’m pretty sure if Rubens was to visit you in hospital he’d do a pretty good job of cheering you up. But is it just me, or does he look like an excited expectant father about to witness the birth of his and Mark Webber’s bizarre but superhuman love child?


British F3

I will admit, open wheel racing isn’t my favourite form of motorsport and although I like Formula One, I’m not a self proclaimed die hard fan. I used to be pretty obsessed with it when I was a child though. I was a huge Nigel Mansell fan, in fact, I even share my birthday and year with his daughter Chloe and he won his Championship title on the 16th of August 1992. Mine (and Chloe’s) 10th Birthday. That was a pretty special day for me. But that’s enough of the nostalgia, as the Schumacher Era saw me lose interest somewhat in Formula One and I never regained the love I once had.

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

British F3, A Stepping Stone Towards F1

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

Jean-Eric Vergne, 2010 British F3 Champion

But over the last few years I have seen my fair share of open wheel racing at various circuits across the country and have appreciated them for what they are. Besides, as a motorsport fan I love being at a circuit and I’ve witnessed some great racing and the rise of some current Formula One stars. After all, these championships are the proving ground for the Holy Grail, Formula One. A huge stepping stone in the quest to become a superstar Formula One racing driver comes in the form of the British F3 championship. With the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Rubens Barichello, Mika Hakkinen and Ayrton Senna having graced the British Series, it’s easy to see that British F3 provides a critical role in developing World Champions of the future.

However it is sad to hear that the British F3 championship announced that it was cutting the series back to just four rounds this season with two of them to be raced overseas. Increasing costs and competition from a number of other single seat championships both in the UK and abroad probably proving a major factor as drivers seek more cost effective ways of reaching the top level.

I’m not here to criticise the series and the current difficulties it is experiencing or point out mistakes or how it should be improved, as to be honest, I don’t really know the answers myself. But I will reiterate one thing I have spoken about many times before, and that is lack of support from fans. I have always been increasingly frustrated at how some huge British Racing Series never get the fan support they so deserve. I have been blown away by the huge crowds the British Touring Car Championship pulls in, yet the British F3 championship, which runs in conjunction with the British GT championship during its race weekends only see’s a fraction of the crowd the BTCC does.

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

Talented British Racer Jack Harvey won the 2012 Championship

How many F1 fans are out there? Many of whom would probably call themselves, ‘Huge Fans’ or ‘Die Hard Fans’. Yet also, many will complain that Formula One is elitist, expensive and inaccessible for the everyday ‘normal’ fans. How many of these fans have sat in front of the TV moaning at the celebrities on the Grid before a big race who clearly have no interest in the sport and are only there because they have been given a free pass and it’s the ‘Fashionable’ thing to do? Yes, I hate it too. But how many have ventured out to watch some live motorsport and support the possible Formula One stars of the future in the British F3? With weekend tickets for around £30, (great value compared to a premiership football match) three championship races per weekend and the chance of watching the mechanics at work, wandering the pit lane and getting up close to the drivers and cars, what is there stopping you? You’d be surprised at how many Motorsport celebs you can see blending into the paddock too not wanting to hog the limelight. You never know, in a few years time, you could be watching one of the current crop of F3 racers stand atop An F1 podium or lifting the world championship trophy and you could turn to your mates and say, ‘I met that guy once.’ Or ‘I saw him race and supported him before he made the big time.’

Image Copyright Chris Gurton Photography

British F3 gives you a chance to get up close and personal to the F1 stars of the future

I could go on about how the media should be doing their bit to bring some of these great British race series to the attention of the public, but I’ve done that before. Plus most of you reading this will be big motorsport fans and know about these Championships anyway, so as fans, it’s only right we do our bit and go and support. Before it’s too late.